KEIR RADNEDGE COMMENTARY —- Australian Moya Dodd failed to regain a place on FIFA’s governing council after being defeated 27-17 by Bangladeshi Mahfuza Akhter Kiron in a vote at the congress of the Asian Football Confederation in Manama.
A simple majority was enough. One vote was invalid and two other candidates, North Korea’s Han Un Gyong and Palestine’s Susan Shalabi, withdrew before the ballot.
Those withdrawals may have helped swing the vote in favour of Akhter Kiron whose federation had lobbied hard on her behalf right up until the eve of the vote. Dodd had served on the former executive committee of the world football federation but only in a co-opted capacity.
She remains a member of the AFC executive committee, chair of the women’s committee and a member of the Asian Cup organising cmmiuttee and the FIFA player status committee.
China’s Zhang Jian, South Korea’s Chung Mong-Gyu and Philippines’ Mariano Araneta were elected by acclamation to fill Asia’s three available ‘open’ slots on FIFA Council.
An election was unnecessary after the withdrawal from football a fortnight ago of Olympic powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah Al-Fahad.
He had completed a two-year term on FIFA Council but dropped his re-election bid after having been apparently identified in the United States Justice Department’s FIFAGate corruption process; he has denied all wrongdoing.
Earlier AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa offered a hint of strife to come later this week around FIFA Congress by stating that “we stand by Palestine.”
Ongoing controversy surrounds the objections of the Palestine FA to the fact that six clubs in the Israeli leagues come from settlements which have been declared illegal by the United Nations.
This contravenes FIFA statutes concerning the rights of control of a national association over the game within its territory.
Sheikh Salman added: “We strongly urge FIFA and the Palestine/Israel monitoring committee to come up with the best solution as soon s possible by applying FIFA statutes to resolve these long-standing issues.”
In reviewing the AFC’s overall status, Sheikh Salman reported that its financial situation “is stronger than ever, our competitions have grown in prestige and the AFC Champions League is one of the leading club competitions in the world.”
He added: “Asia is the world’s biggest football stadium: the AFC’s aim is to unlock that potential.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino told AFC Congress that the world federation was “implementing day by day” its reforms after “some quite difficult times.”
The good news for Asia in particular was that he expected FIFA Council, tomorrow, to approve proposals that the region’s World Cup allocation would jump from 4.5 slots to 8.5 at the 48-team finals likely to be held in the the United States, Mexico and Canada in 2026.